The Threshers Mark Leiter Jr. and Andrew Knapp formed a nice battery last night in Palm Beach in the 7-0 win against the Cardinals in Florida State League action. Leiter pitched an eight inning, six-hit shutout and Andrew Knapp hit a three-run homer for his first long ball of the season.
It goes without saying the Phillies need both pitching and catching. On point the Phillies last two starting pitchers did not strikeout even one batter in either games. Catcher Carlos Ruiz is 36 years old and is in the twilight of his career.
The 24 year-old Leiter has been the best pitcher in the Phillies organization this season even though he started off the season in all of April in the bullpen as a middle reliever where he won a game and then a backend of the bullpen guy to pick up a save.
He forced the minor league department to put him in the starting rotation and in May has been nothing short of spectacular. In his four starts this month, he has gone 2-0 with a 1.01 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP while striking out 24 in 26.1 innings. For the season, he is second in the Florida State League in ERA, third in WHIP and fifth in strikeouts.
The 23- year old Andrew Knapp is battling to become the Phillies catcher of the future. He has hit over .300 batting left-handed this season but has been hitting only around .200 right-handed. But his bat has come to life in the last several games against left-handed pitchers. Saturday night he hit a walk-off single through the five-six hole to beat Daytona SEE HERE and last night hit his first home run of the season, both against left-handed pitching.
It appears that next Wednesday night will be must see baseball at Bright House Field as Mark Leiter Jr. is the probable to take the mound for the final time in the month of May and Andrew Knapp will likely will be his battery mate. As they say, “minor league baseball is where the stars of tomorrow play today”. In this case it might be on Wednesday at 6:30.